By Patrick F. Cannon
The other day, I had breakfast with a friend at a popular diner, the kind typically run by Greek-Americans and only open for breakfast and lunch. The breakfast menu is copious and the food reliable and hearty. I ordered my usual eggs over medium, link sausage and rye toast. I didn’t feel like the classic hash browns and the waitress suggested tomatoes instead. Seemed like a good idea, but I’d forgotten that, regardless of the season, these places only serve rock-hard and mealy hot-house tomatoes, despite the fact that the fresh product was in season. Inexplicable to me, but my companion had a ready explanation: they’re cheaper.
(By the way, I have been eating tomatoes from my son-in-law Boyd’s fruitful garden recently. He has a bumper crop this year of various toothsome varieties. I also bought two beauties at the local farmer’s market. What could be better in the Summer than homegrown tomatoes and fresh sweet corn?)
I have been a fan of thoroughbred horse racing for more than 60 years. At the same time, I’m not really a gambler; it’s the horses and the races that interest me. I do think that having a couple of bucks on the horse you think (or rather hope) will win, makes it a bit more interesting, so I have an account with an on-line betting site. Although I’m a bit ahead at the moment (but just for this year), I do not expect to ever actually make a profit. To begin with, the track grabs (in Illinois) 17-percent off the top, and even more for exotic bets. Inexplicably, some people think they can get rich being on the ponies.
Perhaps sadder, and just as inexplicable, are the low-income folks who play the lottery every day, hoping to hit the big one. The State of Illinois doesn’t mention this, but only 65-percent of the total lottery income is returned as prizes. If you spend $5 a day on the lottery – and many spend that and more – you would need to win nearly $2,000 a year to break even. Put in an IRA or mutual fund instead, that same amount would add up eventually to a more comfortable retirement, or perhaps the down payment on a house. Easy for me to say, though, when many low-income people see winning the lottery as the only way out of a dead-end life.
Excuse me for piling on, but “inexplicable” is the only word I can think of that applies to the millions of eligible Americans who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and its many variants. I’m reminded of the New Hampshire state motto, “Live Free or Die.” For the vaccine deniers, perhaps it should read “Live Free and Die.” I’ve seen various percentages of the numbers of people newly diagnosed who have not been vaccinated – none is lower than 90.
One hears various reasons or not being vaccinated. One of the loonier ones posits that they (whoever “they” are) are implanting some kind of chip along with the vaccine that will enable the evil cabal to gain control of their alleged minds. Other folks, including former Chicago Cub Anthony Rizzo, say it’s a matter of personal choice and that the vaccine needs further study before he’s convinced it’s effective and safe. Could it be that Rizzo is just afraid of needles? Or is he just an idiot?
I see most health-care organizations, corporations and others are now mandating that employees get vaccinated or lose their jobs. A stark choice, to be sure, but entirely legal, as the courts have consistently upheld their right to make such demands as a condition of employment. These initiatives, and the rising number of cases (and deaths) are finally convincing some of the holdouts, but by no means all. By the way, “religious” reasons are mostly phony. And while I support conscientious objection to serving as a soldier during wartime, I do not support religious reasons for refusing vaccinations. When you find an anti-vaccination quote in the Bible, please let me know.
Finally, most of my friends and relatives find my dislike of the avocado (the “green slime” as I call it), well, just inexplicable
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon